By Judi Curry
Fifty-seven years ago I said to my first husband – Ed – that I wanted to be a writer. He laughed at me and told me that I didn’t have the intelligence to write; did not have any experiences to write about, and I should forget that goal. I was 17 at the time. (Yes, I was married very young. I was also stupid, a fact that I hope has changed over the years!)
In the back of my mind, as I wrote essays, thesis’, opinions, case studies, etc. to obtain my Master’s Degree, I always remembered Ed’s comments to me. As I taught my students English and Creative Writing skills, I wondered how I could be a successful teacher with so few “experiences” under my belt. When more and more of my students were producing wonderful writings, I began realizing that Ed may have been right then, but he no longer was correct in his perception of my abilities – we were only married 10 years so many things had changed. Basically, I grew up!
I started out by writing short stories that still sit in the original folders that were never submitted for publication. My interests were varied and as I wrote about the things that interested me I became more excited about the possibility of writing for publication. For some reason, I have the ability to sit down and write an article in a short period of time. Many nights I dream of the article I want to write, so that by the time it is to be written it flows easily. This used to bother my new husband – Bob – because he labored over articles that he had to write. Rather than cause conflict in our household, I put my writings and desire to write on the shelf and didn’t touch them for many years. (Bob used to say that the reason we had such a good marriage was because “ . . . we compromised and did it Judi’s way.”) I “compromised”, too, but he didn’t know it!
After Bob retired as a School Superintendent, he became an Activist in the Democratic Party and this gave me the opening to start writing again. True, many of my first writings had to do with politics, and one of my first articles to be “published” was with the OBRag. For some reason, the “editordude” encouraged me to write more articles and before I knew it I was writing more and submitting them to the “Rag.” Living in Ocean Beach gave me lots to write about. We moved from Berkeley to Ocean Beach and the contrast was fodder for my mind. Some things I wrote but didn’t submit because they had nothing to do with OB and I found it somewhat difficult to stay in the “Ocean Beach” realm. When I heard Frank and Patty begin talking of a county-wide publication I was really jazzed. I could branch out to other areas and submit my writings to a wider reading audience. The thought always went through my mind, though, of who would even be interested in what I had to say. I decided to let the editors make that decision.
One other factor took hold for me. I have written two cookbooks – a third I hope to have completed before the holidays – and I have been in charge of three different Culinary Arts programs for the Job Corps Program. One of those programs was an advanced Culinary Arts where other programs fed into our program for training. I frequently sat in and reviewed the final project of the students – ages 16-24. I wondered if that experience would allow me to review restaurants here in San Diego County. The San Diego Free Press and the OBRag have allowed me to pursue that interest, and they have generously printed the reviews that I have submitted.
I am a retired educator. I have worked 24/7 for years. Losing my husband; retiring from work with not enough things to do to keep me busy – after all – I am getting older – is depressing for me. Being alone is not something I like. My writing for the SDFP has given me a new outlook to the future. Right now I am sitting on a story I hope to break within a week. The excitement of life is coming back – and I owe much of it to the editors of the SDFP and OBRag. I only hope that I do not let my readers down and can continue fulfilling my dream for years to come.